An England international rugby star got his own back on an alleged ‘Twitter troll’ who called him a ‘hair-dyed show pony’ by complaining to his employers before the mortgage director resigned.
Bath fly-half Freddie Burns, 27, was targeted by an anonymous Twitter account in a spate of what he felt was ‘online bullying’.
One tweet from the account said that ‘coaches don’t trust him as he plays for himself not the team’, and another claimed that ‘his teammates think he is a jumped up so and so — they are right — that’s why he isn’t playing’.
Although used to abuse from trolls, the personal attacks – which he described as ‘character assassination’ – bothered him so much that he managed to track down the alleged culprit.
Mr Burns believed that mortgage director Pat Bunton, 50, was behind the account, and made an official complaint about the alleged bullying to his bosses.
Bath fly-half Freddie Burns (pictured) got his own back on an alleged Twitter troll by complaining to the mortgage director’s employers before he resigned
Mr Burns spoke out about mortgage director Pat Bunton (pictured) who he believes was behind the account, and made an official complaint to London & Country mortgages
Taking to Twitter, he quote tweeted an announcement about Mr Bunton resigning from his firm and said ‘the truth has to be heard!’
He later retweeted an announcement saying that Mr Bunton had left his roles as operations and compliance director at mortgage firm London & Country and chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI).
Mr Burns, who has played ten times for England, quote tweeted the announcement, claiming: ‘This man aggressively trolled me for weeks behind a false account and has decided to “resign” after I made official complaints to his work.
‘A “former” director of L&C mortgages and chairman of Oldfield Old Boys. The truth has to be heard!’
Mr Bunton, 50, from near Bath, joined London & Country in 1993, and was chairman of AMI for five years.
He added: ‘This man aggressively trolled me for weeks behind a false account and has decided to “resign” after I made official complaints to his work’
Speaking out, Mr Burns said: ‘I’ve had lots of aggressive tweets in the past, it’s all just part and parcel these days.
‘But this wasn’t just a one off, the tweets really stood out from the crowd. It felt like character assassination on both a personal and a professional level.
‘I wasn’t playing much at the time so it was like someone was taking a shot at me while I was down.
‘This isn’t about naming and shaming anybody. It’s about me being in a position to stand up and highlight an important issue.
‘I’m trying to be a role model to anyone who has suffered this kind of online bullying. Online bullying is everywhere at the moment.
Speaking out about the incident, he said: ‘This isn’t about naming and shaming anybody. It’s about me being in a position to stand up and highlight an important issue’
‘I’m fortunate that I’m in a position where I can rely on friends and family members to support me, but other people are facing this without that kind of support system in place.
‘So that’s why I spoke out. I think it’s really important to draw awareness to the issue of online bullying and how it can affect everyone.’
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair said of Mr Bunton: ‘His input will be missed by the team, the board, the FCA, Bank of England and Treasury. These will be big shoes to fill.’
Mr Bunton, the former chairman of Oldfield Old Boys Rugby Club, in Bath, has also had his name removed from the club’s website.
The Twitter account used to send the messages, @havingalaugh3, has since been deleted.
Mr Bunton declined to comment on the accusations and his reasons for leaving London & Country.
London & Country mortgages also declined to comment on the story.
The Twitter account used to send the messages, @havingalaugh3, has since been deleted. The account made tweets calling Mr Burns a ‘jumped up so and so’ and a ‘hair-dyed show pony’
Mr Burns added: ‘But this wasn’t just a one off, the tweets really stood out from the crowd. It felt like character assassination on both a personal and a professional level’